Industry bodies urge chancellor to reduce tax in Budget
WITH the 2017 Budget less than a week away, brewing and pub industry bodies have called for a further cut to beer duty, which they say could be a catalyst for further investment, boost confidence in the industry and protect jobs.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) recently joined forces and lobbied MPs, urging them to write to chancellor Phillip Hammond and support their call for another cut in beer duty in the 2017 Budget on March 8.
We urge the government to cut beer duty to allow this important industry to thrive.
As well as calling for a cut in duty, the letter highlighted the recent findings of a BBPA-commissioned report by Oxford Economics.
It found that the beer and pub industry currently contributes £23.1 billion to the UK economy and pays £12.6bn in tax.
And, according to the report, the industry currently employs almost 900,000 people across the UK.
The BBPA said the figures reveal the “vital role” the sector plays in supporting the UK economy.
In addition to the letter, the three trade groups launched a new website to support their campaign – cutthebeertax.co.uk – which has allowed members of the public to write to their MPs and urge them to back the calls for a duty cut.
To bolster this year’s campaign, the BBPA has also introduced new, online widgets that allow pub goers and licensees alike to see the benefits brought by successive cuts in duty.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: “We believe our industry should be supported to ensure we can continue to invest in jobs, particularly for young people.
“In recent years, the government has cut beer tax three times, and opted for a freeze on duty last year.
“Strong support from MPs and the public really helped our campaign work, and the data shows that there are great benefits to be gained from a further cut.
“I hope that MPs will once again show their support for such a vital British industry.”
CAMRA has urged MPs to back the calls for a duty cut, stating that with inflation expected to rise in the next year, a cut in duty could help cap the price of beer and protect the sector’s future growth.
“It is clear that previous cuts to beer duty have benefitted beer drinkers and supported significant growth in the brewing industry,” said Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman.
Stating that pubs are now “confronted with higher taxation and cost”, Valentine said: “We are simply calling for fairer measures for beer drinkers and publicans in our asks to government.
I hope that MPs will once again show their support for such a vital British industry.
“I hope the chancellor will take all of this into consideration when deciding this Budget.”
And Mike Benner, SIBA managing director, highlighted the fact that Britain currently pays the second highest rate of beer duty in Europe – at 52.2p on the pint.
“We would urge the government to introduce a cut in beer duty in the next Budget to allow this important British manufacturing industry the chance to continue to grow and thrive,” he said.